Patsy (and others)

Meet Patsy, my very first composition doll! 😀


Patsy dolls were made by Effanbee from 1928 to 1946 in a variety of sizes.  I haven’t actually measured this one (and the seller mis-listed her as being 11 1/2 inches tall, which she totally is not) so I’m not 100% sure which type of Patsy she is, but she’s about 8 or 9 inches tall (by my haphazard guesswork) which would make her the Tinyette Toddler, Patsy Babyette or Patsyette.  According to Doll, her body should be marked “Effanbee Patsy Pats. Pend. Doll” or something similar, but her back has no markings.  Which could mean she’s from 1946 — apparently in the final year she was unmarked — or that her torso is not original.  She has definitely been re-strung — her limbs are all so tight that they can’t hold any position other than the one in the picture above — so it’s possible that her torso was replaced with one from another type of doll at that time.  Or maybe she’s from 1946.  Can’t say it matters, honestly.  I bought her ’cause she’s adorable, not because I care about her “authenticity,” y’know?  (Speaking of “authenticity,” her dress and bonnet may well be original, but those red bloomers absolutely are not.  I need to replace them with white ones…)


I went looking for Patsy dolls during my lunch break at work…uh…when was that?  About two weeks ago?  Well, whenever.  I was cataloging some photos of dolls in our archives, and came across a photo of a Patsy in brand new condition, with her wrist tag in place and everything, and just fell in love with her.  The photo above is roughly the same angle on the face as that photo had.  Of course, this Patsy is not in perfect condition, but you can still see how cute she is. 🙂  The Patsy in the photo was a “magic hand” version, which had a magnet imbedded in the composition so she could hold things.  I’m honestly not sure if this one is or not.  I tried holding a barrette up to her hand to see if she had a magnet, and it seemed to be repulsed by her hand on the first approach (like two magnets repulsing each other) and then on the second, nothing happened.  That happened with every other metal surface I tried it with.  Very odd.


A slightly better angle on her face, this gives you an idea of one of the reasons it felt “safe” to buy a Patsy online, where a lot of other composition dolls don’t feel all that safe:  her eyes are painted on, not inset glass eyes.  As anyone who’s looked at a lot of old compo dolls knows, those glass eyes tend to crack and craze as they age, and sometimes the effect is downright creepy.  Worse, the cracked eyes sometimes look okay in person but creepy in a photo…or the other way around.  Hence the fact that I’d always been leery of buying a compo doll online until Patsy here.  (My reluctance will likely not change in the future, however.  Creepiness is much harder to gauge online.)  This photo also gives you an idea of the damage around her mouth (the white spots) which I’m hoping can be fixed with a trip to the doll hospital.  Though that’s not the real reason I want to take her to the doll hospital.


This is the reason I want to take her to the doll hospital.  I mean, yeah, I could cover it up with some little white booties, but…this seems like the kind of thing that should be fixed, not hidden.  And if some of the rest of her problems can be touched up, too, all the better!  (Though, ironically, the repair will undoubtedly cost much more than she did. 😛  But I think she’s worth fixing up.)

Patsy wasn’t the only one I bought from the Etsy seller, though…


Aren’t they adorable?  Two Kola Kiddles (from Mattel’s late ’60s Liddle Kiddle line, naturally) in pristine condition!  These cuties were more expensive than Patsy, but worth it.  Especially because the museum where I work has a Greta Grape in the collection, and I fell in love with her years ago, but I hadn’t ever found quite the right one to buy for myself.  Until now. 🙂


(The one in the museum’s collection doesn’t have her bottle, btw.  Or her hat.  Her grapes are just sort of loose.)

Before I close off this post, a few words about my ongoing efforts to get my hands on a few more Tonner dolls of interest before they’re all completely off the first hand market and get horribly jacked up in price.

So, I mentioned last time that there was a basic Ellowyne Wilde doll from 2015 that I was thinking of getting, right?  But I dawdled, thinking “do I really need her?” and “is it really right to buy a $90 doll just because the line’s been discontinued?” and so on.  And then I checked back on the site two days ago and found that the price had been raised from $89.99 to $99.99.


My first reaction was just to get ticked off, and be like “screw you, jerks!” and think that no way was I going to buy her.

About 24 hours later, I had cooled off, and had a look around online, and realized that she was still the cheapest one I could find, and prices were just going to get higher, so I decided to suck it up and admit that it was my own delay that had cost me that $10.  (Better $10 extra now than $50 or $60 extra later.)  So she’s on her way, and I’ve ordered the clothes for her and Houston.  (Assuming that Houston can indeed wear clothes designed for Ellowyne, but I think she most likely can.)  I decided to pass on the Evangeline Ghastly doll for now, because I’m not as sure about her, and because she costs more than the average Pullip doll.

The other Tonner doll I’ve actively been trying to get my hands on is a Betsy McCall.  I had thought of getting one on Mandarake (strangely enough), but then I found a couple of nice ones on Amazon that were slightly cheaper and were larger.  (The ones on Mandarake that were affordable are the 8” Tiny Betsy McCall dolls, and the two on Amazon were the 14” variety.)  So there were two on Amazon, one slightly prettier than the other.  I ordered the prettier one, only to be told by the seller that they couldn’t find it in their warehouse.  😦

Then I ordered the other one – which couldn’t be lost in a sloppy warehouse, because it was one of those “fulfilled by Amazon” things, where the seller sent it off to Amazon’s warehouse to let them deal with it – and it arrived yesterday.


You can see a bit of damage towards the top, but nothing too bad, right?  Still, I was a little worried when I got the huge box off the porch, ‘cause it was rattling, and it wasn’t the Barbie in the other box rattling.  (I plan on featuring her in a later post, if I can ever get the countless pictures taken.  Still trying to get around to the freakin’ yoga pictures…)


And that’s why it was rattling. 😦


The rubber band with which Betsy was strung had snapped.  I think this is actually typical of the Tonner Betsy McCall dolls, because we have two in the collection at the museum whose rubber bands have also snapped, ones that were never played with, as far as I can tell.  It was just poorly chosen elastic on Tonner’s part, y’know?

The alarming part is barely visible in this photo.  See the little white ribbon?  That’s the ribbon that was supposed to tie around her neck.  It’s at the bottom of the package.  And you can just barely see that her feet are bare, not wearing pretty red shoes like they’re supposed to be.  So this doll was removed from her package, had her shoes removed (and any other accessories she’s supposed to have) and then replaced, upside down.  Whether her elastic snapped before or after that happened, I can’t say.  But I can say that at least part of the problem was intentional.

Fortunately, when I contacted the seller, Amazon made them give me a partial refund.  (The seller was inclined to blame Amazon for everything, since the doll was in their warehouse.  That covers the rubber band (maybe) but not the missing shoes.)  So I’ll be picking up supplies at the doll hospital to try to re-string her myself.  This, of course, will be while I’m taking Patsy in to be evaluated (and hopefully repaired) and while I’m taking in my mother’s childhood Little Miss Revlon, which I absolutely, positively cannot re-string myself.  (Fortunately, I called them today, and restringing her will cost about $13.  A very good deal, considering what one of those dolls in perfect condition would cost now, and her broken elastic is pretty much the only thing wrong with her.  I’ll post pictures of her after she’s been repaired.)

Anyway, let me close out this post with the artist’s rendition of what my Betsy McCall is supposed to look like.  (It was obscured in the earlier photo by the glare from the flash.)


I’m not a huge fan of her stock dress, so once she’s repaired, I’m going to order her a new one from Etsy.  (Because money does not like being in my bank account, apparently…)


One thought on “Patsy (and others)

  1. Tami Von Zalez January 20, 2017 / 8:24 am

    Never really liked the comp dolls – like you say those glass eyes glaze over and go creepy.
    I’ve got one headed to the doll hospital too – the rubber band on one arm is broken and the one affixed her head is loose. But I so love the look of her face and otherwise she is in great condition.


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